Dear Francis, could you please post this announcement to the list? With many thanks and warm best wishes for 2011, Amy.
The University of Glasgow, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Research Seminar, 2010-11: Words and Beauty
With the Participation of 1100+, The Medieval and Early Modern Research Cluster
Wednesday, 12 January 1-2PM, Hetherington 317
Lunch available from 1 PM
‘Works of Beauty, or the Work of Beauties? Textiles and the Representation of Women’s Work in Fairy Tales’
Derided as the province of female endeavour, and rejected by second wave feminists concerned with establishing women’s presence in the male world, the textile arts and their appearance in fictional narratives have received little critical attention. This paper will examine the ways in which weaving, embroidery, lace-making and spinning function within the fairy tales of Madame D’Aulnoy. On the one hand, descriptions of the finished objects contribute to the portrayal of courtly society, and of the wealth and luxury of the royal household. On the other hand, references to characters involved in ‘women’s work’ allow a privileged glimpse of the weight borne by textiles in the cultural imagination of the late seventeenth century. Be it as the normal employment of a gentlewoman’s leisure hours or as the exemplary undertaking of a young woman wishing to impress a suitor with her skills, references to the textile arts become the means by which characters’ reactions to the world at large are expressed, and by which the expectations of society regarding that character can be weighed.
Ruth Vorstman’s D. Phil thesis, ‘Tragedies and Tragi-comedies by French Female Dramatists 1640-1700: Adaptation of Sources and Presentation of Gender’ was completed in 2009 (New College, Oxford). Her current book-length projects are ‘An Other Mother: Wicked Stepmothers in Seventeenth-Century France’, and ‘Women’s Work: The Representation of the Textile Arts in Early Modern French Literature’.